“But I Wouldn’t Do That!” – Understanding Cultural Empathy
| Morning session: All too often throughout my career as a social worker and educator, I have heard people talk about situations with the people they serve in which the client chooses a specific course of action, and the “helper” explains to me how the client made the wrong choice because the helper would not have done it that way. Far too often we neglect to recognize that the choices we make are often grounded in our culture – our shared practices, beliefs, and traditions. In this morning session we will discuss the need for cultural empathy, the practice of cultural empathy, and how it might lead to better outcomes for the people we serve. This starts with taking on an attitude of cultural humility, and then leaning into “seeing” people for who they are, not who we are. |
Afternoon session: Having come to an understanding of what cultural empathy is, in this afternoon session we will apply human centered design principles grounded in culturally empathy to guide our approach to developing services and programs that start with the people we serve instead of the systems we have built. We’ll participate in a rapid design exercise. We’ll also consider why someone might choose to participate in the services we offer, and what they might really be looking for. And finally, we’ll consider what we might be able to do to shift our services to reflect the hopes of the people we serve. You don’t have to be a program designer or manager to benefit from this session – just be someone who wants to be able to serve people in the way that they want to be seen and served.